Easy Steps to RAISE Your Self-Esteem

(Guest article for Fusion Academy) 

R – Resilience

A – Attitude/Adaptability

I – Independence

S – Self-respect

E – Empowerment

After counseling and interviewing hundreds of young girls, I have an understanding for what they face in the world and how they feel inside. Trying to maneuver the landscape of your everyday life as a teenage girl is tough. Without tools, strategies, or resources it’s nearly impossible. I see RAISE as your toolkit. RAISE is an acronym for five components to building healthy self-esteem: resilience, attitude, independence, self-respect, and empowerment.


It’s probably no surprise that teens rate the disapproval of their friends and classmates as the most difficult to experience. Most will avoid it at any cost. This is where peer pressure can come into play if they don’t have a strong sense of self or healthy self-esteem. Resilience, or self-perseverance, is a great defense against peer pressure and bullying. We are all resilient in our own way, it’s just a matter of taking those “resilient” behaviors and translating them to other situations and environments. Resilience doesn’t have to come naturally. Instead, we can learn skills to help us persevere and practice them along the way.


Maintaining a positive attitude can enhance self-esteem. Simply accepting that we all have good days and bad days is a start. In addition, adapting to different situations is key. Developmentally, the teen years are extremely complex. Dynamics among friendships start to shift and extreme self-awareness takes hold. Not to mention there’s a good chance their hormones are going crazy! All of these conditions create a concoction just waiting for disaster. Teens may deal with these changes in many different ways. They may become moody, crying over big and small issues, they may begin to challenge parents, or they may feel sad or depressed for seemingly no reason. These can all be very scary experiences and cause extreme confusion.

Adolescents need to remember that they aren’t alone; sometimes just knowing that can make all the difference in the world. Teen girls talk about a lot of things with their friends, but based on my research, feeling sad or lonely for no real reason isn’t usually one of them. So, who or what can they turn to?

Dr Carol will be hosting a Community Education Night at Fusion San Mateo on May 27. See more at: Fusion Academy

What Mean Girls Really Think: Confessions of a HS Bully


Self-esteem means self-respect. Self-acceptance. Um…self-confidence. Knowing yourself. Knowing your weaknesses and your strengths and striving to manipulate them to serve you best.

Presenting an image is important. Like big time. You portray this image to the world of what you WANT to be. The image that you put out to everyone else is what you ASPIRE to become, not necessarily what you already are.

My mom pushes me hard to be the best. She’s like a total Asian tiger mom. I love her but it’s stressful sometimes. I have high expectations for myself too. I think I should be good at everything. Like I’m not the best at math but I would never admit to that. You wouldn’t hear me talking about how I had a math tutor and stuff. Since I wanted all As and I’m kind of dumb at precalc, I dropped it and went to the easy math. Now I’m one of the best in that class. I’ve maintained that image of perfection.

Me and my friends all have high expectations of each other as well. They’re tough on me and I’m tough on them. Like I’ll ask a girl, “Are you really going to where that to my party?” ‘Cause I don’t want her to give me and my friends a bad name. Or if a girl is slutting around, we let her know. We’re not exactly nice about it. We’re like, “You’re acting like a desperate hoe, so stop. Otherwise you’re not hanging out with us.” We gang up on her, like five on one.

We totally have each other’s back, just not in the nicest way.

Bullying IS real. It’s like the bitchy girl talking to the freshman, saying: “Why would you wear shorts ice skating? It’s cold in there.” And it’s true. Like, why would you? That’s what makes the bully so likeable. She’s totally honest. She’s not making it up; she’s just telling the truth and it’s funny.

I was given a hard time when I was a freshman too. Like every freshman, I was totally retarded. But I learned from that good hazing not to be dumb, how to have street smarts, what to wear or not wear, how to coast through high school, stuff like that.

So if you’re a freshman girl making out with your boyfriend in front of the school, you’re going to get shit for that. That’s honestly unacceptable. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to get bullied for doing stupid stuff.

And if you’re one of the strange girls wearing strange clothes, you’re going to get shit for that too. Like, the one who walked out of the locker room to go to a concert wearing a black tulle tutu thing. I mean, come on. A black tutu?

And me and my friends were like: That outfit is offensive. You need to change.

And she was like: Assholes.

And we were like: No. We have your back. If you walked down the street like this it’d be bad.

Don’t get me wrong, even the weird girls are perfectly nice. We just don’t hang out with them. You’ll often hear me and my girlfriends say that we don’t hang out with ugly people either, which is a really mean thing to say when you think about it. Like that’s a REALLY mean thing to say. But it’s kinda true. I don’t spend a lot of time with people who are, um…yeah. Ugly. It’s not like I’m trying to be a total bitch about it. It’s just that’s not who I find myself with.

Some girls may try hard to be the better person, but when the doors close in the locker room, they’re still like, “What the hell? Did you see what she was wearing?”

Excerpt from my upcoming book: Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image. 

The Importance of Inner Confidence for Healthy Living and Self-Esteem

Guest blog by Domonique Chardon

Confidence (n.) a : a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances. b: faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.

I grew up in a tough environment, where just “being positive” about anything was not an easy task. My family life was unstable, both of my parents struggled with drug and alcohol addictions and I was extremely poor.  On top of that, I suffered from social anxiety which made me feel awkward and uncomfortable most of the time, like I didn’t fit in or belong. Sometimes I would just lay in bed and cry; cry about my life and why things were the way they were; dreading going to school for fear of running into the wrong person, who might say or do something to me that would ruin my day.  I was sad and depressed and it seemed like no one cared or noticed.

I’m not sure when a change happened, but I started to become very angry at my situation. Mad at the world and everyone around me. I wanted others to hurt like I did. I was looking for anyone to upset me, say something or challenge me; so that I could fight them and take out all the hurt I felt on them. But the anger I felt, had another unintended effect of me: out of anger, I found personal strength to march to my own beat. My angry protest became a battle-cry: I was not going to let the opinions of others bring me down; and if someone tried, I dared them to see what was going to happen if they tried to embarrass or pick on me.  And believe me I had my fair share of bullies and people who seemed to get a kick out of seeing me miserable.

What I didn’t realize is that I was relying on inner confidence.  Having this has allowed me to rise above even the worst of labels and stigmas placed on me by others. Words hurt, I cannot deny that. And unfortunately, there will always be people who will try to hurt you with their words; but I have found that you can destroy them silently with a powerful surety and inner confidence. A mental determination in which you declare that YOU ARE the master of your destiny, YOU ARE NOT what others deem you to be. Knowing this has given me not only the strength to get through difficult times, but also a personal satisfaction.

It wasn’t easy – it took a great deal of mental conditioning to get to a point where I didn’t respond with my emotions or my fists. What I realized is that life wouldn’t always be difficult, that happiness started with me. As long as I was content with the decisions I made, I didn’t owe anyone anything.  Without even knowing I was developing my inner confidence.  Although some tend may think being confident means being arrogant, boastful or conceited; I believe inner confidence means being brave and strong. It means having the ability to make my own decisions, and to test my boundaries and limits when I chose to.

Having inner confidence has been a great help to me on my personal journey and I hope it can be to you as well.

Domonique Chardon is a Bay Area Area native, young professional, aspiring writer, and spiritual being having a human experience.  Follow Domonique @domonique_007.